The Atlanta Braves are leaving Atlanta. The team announced Monday that it will not renew its lease at Turner Field and will be moving to Cobb County starting in 2017, near the intersection of I-75 and I-285.
The Braves announced the move with a website, HomeofTheBraves.com, on Monday morning.
“We are extremely excited that our address will still be Atlanta and so will the name across our jersey,” the team said in an announcement, though the new stadium’s location will be just outside Atlanta’s city limits.
Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz made a recorded announcement on the website explaining why the team came to its decision.
“We wanted to find a location that was great for our fans, makes getting to and from the stadium much easier, and provides a first rate game day experience in and around the stadium,” said Schuerholz. “Turner field, which we do not own, is in need of hundreds of millions of dollars of upgrades. Unfortunately, that massive investment would not do anything to improve access or the fan experience. These are issues we simply cannot overcome.”
The team’s contract with Turner Field, which is overseen by the City of Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority, expires in 2016. The Braves have played in downtown Atlanta since moving from Milwaukee in 1966 and have played at Turner Field since 1997, after the Olympics were held in the city.
Schuerholz said issues plaguing Turner Field, affectionately known as The Ted, were “insurmountable and that the stadium needs “hundreds of millions of dollars of upgrades. Unfortunately, that massive investment would not do anything to improve access or the fan experience,” he said.
The new stadium site “will be one of the most magnificent in all of baseball,” he said. “It will thrive with action 365 days a year.”
The surrounding area will be a “mixed-use destination,” Schuerholz added.
A statement from the Braves confirmed that it would be a “public-private partnership,” but did not detail how much revenue would come from the public or who the private partner or partners were. In a statement, the team also pointed to Atlanta’s lack of reliable public transportation and infrastructure as reasons for making the move.
“There is a lack of consistent mass transportation, a lack of sufficient parking and a lack of direct access to interstates,” the team said in a statement. “Furthermore, the Braves do not have control over the development of our immediate surroundings.”
Neither the City of Atlanta or the Fulton County Recreation Authority had released a statement or responded to requests for comment. Mayor Kasim Reed’s office did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.